GREENSBORO, N.C. (KSNT)- Four Kansas State basketball players grew up in New York.
Tykei Greene, Markquis Nowell, Nae’Qwan Tomlin and Ismael Massoud all spent time in ‘The Big Apple’ before moving to ‘The Little Apple’ to play for the Wildcats.
“Me and Markquis from the same neighborhood,” Massoud said. “We both from the east side. Nae’Qwan’s from the west side, so it’s It’s still Harlem, but it’s the west side. So he makes jokes about ‘That’s the best side’ and stuff like that. And then Tykei’s from Queens so he’s a little out the way.”
The quartet of ‘Cats are eying a trip back home. If Kansas State beats Kentucky on Sunday it will advance to the Sweet 16. K-State’s location for the second weekend, if they make it? Madison Square Garden.
“That’d be like a dream come true playing in Madison Square Garden,” Tomlin said.
It’d also be an opportunity for all sorts of friends and family to see them chase their dreams.
“My family don’t really come out to a lot of my games,” Greene said. “They only came to one this year, that was my senior night. So if we get to go- when we get to go, to New York, then I’m going to invite all the family I could out.”
None of these four ‘New Yorkers’ turned ‘K-Staters’ have ever played in Madison Square Garden. However, they’re well aware of its rich basketball history. Markquis Nowell and Ismael Massoud both shared some of their favorite basketball memories tied to MSG when talking with reporters on Saturday.
“Kemba Walker step back versus Pittsburgh,” Nowell said, without hesitation. “I watch it all the time, I even tried it one time in a game. Definitely that shot.”
“I would say definitely when Carmelo [Anthony] was there,” Massoud said. “I remember when he had like 60, and just some of the games he used to have in Madison Square Garden. He used to have the city lit, so definitely when Carmelo was there.”
The move from Harlem or Queens, New York to Manhattan, Kansas was an interesting one, with very different lifestyles. Massoud was asked about the biggest difference between the two.
“I would just say the size of the buildings, more people,” Massoud said. “But I would say the little apple got nicer people.”
As Massoud, and his teammates, hope for a Sweet 16 appearance, they know it won’t happen if they’re too tied up in dreaming about MSG. First, a Sunday afternoon meeting with Kentucky.
“That would be an amazing opportunity but we got to take care of business tomorrow,” Massoud said.
K-State and Kentucky play at 1:40 p.m. central time on Sunday in Greensboro.